Yesterday, Bahrain’s US-backed king was extremely contrite about riot police having killed two people. He promised investigations and to hold the killers accountable. The protests continued, but this may have tamped down the anger somewhat.
Just hours after the “apology,” protesters sleeping in the Pearl Square roundabout were roused by another violent crackdown in the middle of the night. The attack left at least six protesters dead and several hundred more wounded.
Now, the government has put the military in charge of several key parts of the capital city of Manama, and tanks are rolling through the streets. The protests briefly broke off, but anger over the killings have sparked new rounds of protests, with doctors at the hospital in Manama taking to the streets to condemn the moves.
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid al-Khalifa defended the killings, saying that the protesters had been polarizing the country. Apparently he hasn’t yet noticed that the brutal crackown has been plenty polarizing itself.
The US is struggling to cope with the loss of its loyal tyrant Hosni Mubarak, and is now facing another key regime in the face of pro-democracy protests. This one is putting the Obama Administration in a particularly tough state, as the US angrily condemned Iran for a much less violent crackdown against a much larger protest, and is now shurgging off the killings in Bahrain with calls for “economic reforms.”